Once the fate of The Lone Ranger is decided—it will likely fall to those oh-so-adorable Despicable minions—the summer box-office attention will swing as mightily as a fighting robot's fist to the fate of Guillermo Del Toro's nearly $200 million monsters-versus-robots epic Pacific Rim. And the buzz, if you can even call it that, has been mighty grim, with a bold Variety story declaring it the next Battleship. But with a marketing blitz that's oscillated between focusing on man and machine, Warner Bros. is hoping, perhaps desperately, to expand the appeal of its teetering blockbuster beyond the geek base and out of the realm of floppitude.
Indeed, the grim predictions out of Hollywood may have been a too-early attempt to shoot down this movie before it really had a chance to stand, according to Jeff Bock of Exhibitor Relations. "Tracking for some of these big summer films a couple weeks out doesn't compare to what the box office is capable of," Bock told The Atlantic Wire in a phone interview Wednesday afternoon. "The fact remains this is a monster film, and films like [Roland Emmerich's] Godzilla and [Peter Jackson's] King Kong—those both opened in the high $40s to 50 million." Bock thinks there's a good chance that both Pacific Rim and its July 12 weekend competitor, Grown Ups 2, could go toe-to-toe and ultimately get outrun by Despicable Me 2, which might conquer the box office, two weekends in a row. Where Bock really thinks Pacific Rim has its best chance is internationally, but the marketers at Warners have been making a massive push to prove that this 3D action-fest isn't just for the Comic-Con set—though Bock does describe it as the "ultimate fanboy flick."